North of Manistee on M-31 is this beautiful old white wooden church. If you have ever driven past it and never stopped to read the historical marker, here is what is written on it:
In 1864 Norwegian and Swedish immigrants created the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Society of Brown Town. The congregation alternated the language of services between Norwegian and Swedish to satisfy both groups. In 1884 Ole and Mary Johnson donated this land for the construction of the society’s first church and cemetery. The church was built circa 1888. The society began using the cemetery around 1893. Many of those buried here were descendants of the society’s founders.
In 1916 the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Society of Brown Town’s first church burned down. That same year, they began to build this church, based on plans drawn by Reverend Ole Stenson and an unknown carpenter. Craftsman John Olson led the construction effort. He made the altar, baptismal font, pulpit, lectern and window frames in his basement. The building was dedicated in 1920. It later became known as Norwalk Lutheran Church and has been renovated several times.
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